Photographer Andrew Knapp loves dogs, so much so that he has created a series of books based on his loyal friend and faithful muse, the hiding border collie Momo. With his gentle patience and huge personality, you can't help but share the love for this heartwarming dog. Often traveling in a yellow VW Camper with his four legged friend and a camera on hand, Andrew has attracted a large community on Instagram, where he encourages his followers to “Find Momo.” In a modern-day game of Where's Waldo?, he takes viewers on a photo adventure that blends incredible urban and countryside landscape photography with a hidden Momo somewhere in the photo. Together, the duo helps you appreciate the beautiful little moments life has to offer, like hitting the road with your best friend and happily getting lost on a wild journey through North America.
Can you help find Momo in this Behind The Lens look into Andrew Knapp's photography?
Can you tell us a bit about your journey into photography?
Sure! I've always been into capturing and sharing moments. It seemed like something that I could do that wasn't too time consuming, and would really share my stories with people in a visual way. I've been shooting a lot for a good 10 years, never with an intention to make something out of it. Momo came into my life and became my muse, and something to share. He's the best buddy I could ask for, especially the best travel buddy.
What are some of your interests?
Community arts / design / dogs / photos / warm weather.
Where do you call home?
I call my hometown home, Sudbury Ontario. It's a strange place with a beautiful creative community that's exploding right now.
Your most notable subject is your sweet Border Collie Momo, how did you become best friends?
I found Momo as a puppy, was looking for a border collie specifically – they're smart, beautiful, and well mannered. Momo is no exception, in fact, I think he's really an incredible dog. He's obedient, playful, but also chill when I need to get things done (or drive).
Momo is such a happy model, how did your series “Find Momo” come to be?
By accident, mostly! He tends to hide behind things while waiting for me to throw balls or sticks for him, so I just started photographing him. Then I got the idea to start placing him in funnier and interesting places.
This year you hit the road with Momo and your VW Camper to promote your book Find Momo Coast to Coast, where has been your favorite travel destination?
That's such a tough one. But the South really has something special to me. The deserts, rock formations, geographical history, alien vibes, strange folks and beautiful light. It really keeps me visiting.
Does Momo have a favorite shooting location?
Nope! Momo's the ultimate happy-in-the-moment fella. He's happy where he is (unless there's thunder, air compressors, or other terrifyingly loud things happening around him). If he's too hot he likes to swim, if he's too cold he likes to cuddle. I really love this dog.
How much planning goes into a shoot? Do you plan the locations or find them in your travels?
I like to keep things very organic. It's better to work with nature than against it. I usually let the shots happen, or if I'm driving down the highway and find something interesting, I'll stop if I have the time and explore the location. However, I do always plan the less travelled route. Meaning, I avoid major highways and thruways. We take the small backroads as much as possible that pass through the forgotten towns.
How do you keep your artistic voice unique to you?
We're all inspired by things we see, and sometimes we're so inspired that we find ourselves wanting to replicate it. I went to a designer conference once and the speaker, Paula Scher, said that we often find our unique voice by trying to replicate someone else's and failing. But aside from that, I really try to identify what it is that I love about something I see – whether it's someone's work, something in nature, or something completely unrelated, I find my voice by trying to identify exactly what it is I love about the world around me.
How do you light your photos? Do you use artificial or natural light?
Natural, almost entirely. Momo doesn't like artificial lights, flashes, or the likes … so we really just try to use the light around us. That's probably why I don't have too many night shots 🙂
When is your favorite time to shoot?
Sunny mornings or evenings. Sunset and sunrise are so magical and really fuel my positive energies.
What challenges have you and Momo faced while creating together?
The biggest challenge is trying to enjoy the moment rather than trying to capture it. I get lost a lot trying to take these photos, and trying to take the next one that'll outdo the previous one. It's something that I definitely have to practice more, really just trying to breathe and enjoy a beautiful moment rather than trying to capture it.
What's a must have in your gear bag?
Probably a ball, incase Momo's at all distracted. Though I don't always need it, it's great to have.
How much post processing goes into a completed photo?
A few minutes in Lightroom. I used to shoot on my iPhone only but really wanted to push myself with understanding cameras, so figured I'd take this opportunity to switch over and really get to know my DSLR.
What are your plans for the future? Do you have any upcoming projects?
I'm heavily involved in a local festival called Up Fest, a local non-profit I helped start called We Live Up Here runs it. We're looking at our second year (in 2016). I'm also helping out with a local Creator Space. I also like to leave and travel in the winters, though so that's not really a project.
Do you have any advice for aspiring photographers and dog owners?
Yep – whether it's photography or training a dog, your biggest asset is time. Spend a lot of time with it, and spend that time intentionally. Practice as much as you have energy for. If you don't have the energy for it, then it might not be for you. Wherever it is you want to spend your time, spend as much time as you can with that.
Do you have any tips for adventuring with your pet?
Traveling with your pet is amazing – you'll meet more people and stop more often. It's really important to make a lot of choices based on having your pet with you. Try not to leave him/her in the car for too long, even if the weather's fine. It's really just better to hang out with your dog than leave him/her behind. Look for dog friendly places, or dog-friendly patios. Finally, take the time to chat with folks who stop and pet your dog, you might make a new best friend!
Were you able to find Momo in every photo?
Thank you so much Andrew! If you would like to stay up to date with this talented photographer's work please visit his website and Instagram.
Are you a photographer? Would you like to be interviewed for our Behind The Lens series? Leave your website in the comments below!